Category: ww1 history

German Fleet Surrenders | Getty Images https:/…

German Fleet Surrenders | Getty Images https://t.co/hJ0cBbYihu http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064531830261481473

The Citadel of Homs. Homs, a desert town betwe…

The Citadel of Homs. Homs, a desert town between Damascus and Aleppo. The Australian Light Horse are bivouacked in the foreground. https://t.co/she73RwfS3 via @I_W_M http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064531299832975360

Lieutenant-General Sir H G Chauvel, KCB, KCMG,…

Lieutenant-General Sir H G Chauvel, KCB, KCMG, 1918 https://t.co/HYUOzX1cIY via @I_W_M http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064531165917339649

Nov 19 1918 “The march past on the occas…

Nov 19 1918 “The march past on the occasion of the State Entry into Antwerp of King Albert I and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium” https://t.co/RulQBvkE03 https://t.co/3nkaopUtB6 http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064531124972544001

Second Lieutenant Alfred Newsam Ella 337. Unit…

Second Lieutenant Alfred Newsam Ella 337. Unit: 180th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery dies on Nov 18 1918 in Macedonia. Buried at the Mikra Cemetery https://t.co/oJoKjLUgdD https://t.co/y1OtD552FB http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064199926710562816

Nov 18 1918 Winifred Haviland Irwin, Territori…

Nov 18 1918 Winifred Haviland Irwin, Territorial Force Nursing Service. Died of pneumonia https://t.co/fQ61QPRobr https://t.co/XcIwx86Zib http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064198502463356933

Nov 18 1918 Alexander Kolchak seizes control o…

Nov 18 1918 Alexander Kolchak seizes control of the East Russia Provisional All-Russian Government in a coup https://t.co/32i0J4it2I https://t.co/5STBFyI7kP http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064193884152942592

Coup in Omsk

Kolchak inspecting his troops, later in the Russian Civil War.

November 18 1918, Omsk–The Provisional All-Russian Government, an attempt to unify the Komuch (the leftovers of the Constituent Assembly) with the other, more right-wing White forces in Siberia, satisfied neither side.  Both compared it unfavorably to Kerensky’s government in 1917–the left for unnecessarily including the right when they clearly had the people’s support, and the right for including the left when their policies had led to Russia’s collapse.  

In the wee hours of November 18, Cossack forces broke up an SR meeting and arrested the attendees, including both SR members of the Provisional All-Russian Government.  That morning, what was left of the government (which was now purged of left-wingers) installed Admiral Kolchak, former head of the Black Sea Fleet, as Supreme Leader.  The prospect of reassembling the Constituent Assembly–and with it many of the anti-Bolshevik’s claims to democratic legitimacy–were ended.  The SRs, whose main program was support for the Constituent Assembly and expulsion of the occupying Germans, were dealt a twin blow in mid-November; many would quietly drop their opposition to the Bolsheviks in the coming months.

Kolchak had been effectively exiled by Kerensky in the summer of 1917 for counter-revolutionary intrigues, having been sent on a military mission to the United States.  This meant, a year later, that he was one of the few notable military leaders available in Siberia.  After having spent a year waiting in Manchuria, he only arrived in Omsk in October, and had been made the Provisional All-Russian Government’s War Minister on November 4.  It is unclear how much Kolchak was actively involved in the coup, though it seems unlikely that he did anything to discourage it.

The Czechs, who had always been allies of the Komuch, protested the coup, but took no action against it; at this point, most of them just wanted to get home to their newly-independent country.  The British were often blamed by the Soviets for their supposed involvement in the coup, though they likely did not explicitly participate.  They likely knew of it, however, and British troops did take up positions to prevent a possible counter-coup against Kolchak that day.

Kolchak issued a personal manifesto that day:

The Provisional All-Russian Government has come to an end. The Council of Ministers, having all the power in its hands, has invested me, Admiral Alexander Kolchak, with this power. Taking up the cross of this power in the exceptionally difficult conditions of civil war and the complete breakdown of state life I declare: I will not go either on the road of reaction or on the fatal road of party politics.  I set as my chief aim the creation of an efficient army, victory over the Bolsheviks, and the establishment of law and order, so that the people can choose for itself, without obstruction, the form of government which it desires and realize the great ideals of liberty which are now proclaimed all over the world. 

The White movement was now under the control of the generals and admirals.

Sources include: Evan Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War.

Nov 18 1918 Imperial German Navy Type U 93 sub…

Nov 18 1918 Imperial German Navy Type U 93 sub SM U-165 sank in the Weser (53°10′N 8°53′E). She was raised on 21 February 1919 and subsequently scrapped https://t.co/fShsM1Xco6 https://t.co/pfrI3ffZLZ http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064192784679133184

Harlan and Hollingsworth Ship Yard, Wilmington…

Harlan and Hollingsworth Ship Yard, Wilmington, Delaware, November 18, 1918. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) https://t.co/eR5GMg7IMK http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/1064192446337175552